Our dear friends, Lynne and Laurence, visited me and AJ this weekend from Vermont. Lynne is a theatre professor and author at the University of Vermont and Laurence is an accomplished CIA trained French Chef. Because nothing says, “We think you’re special” louder than Gordon’s Beef Wellington, I decided to put Chef Jeff’s method to the test and thaw out the puff pastry. Until two months ago, I had heard of Beef Wellington, but had basically no clue what was really entailed.
This dish has many variations, but this one is especially fantastic. Here’s the 5 second run down: the STAR= a beautiful piece of filet mignon, seasoned generously with salt and pepper; brown the meat; smother it in dijon mustard; wrap it up in prosciutto; roll it in a savory herb crepe- spread with mushroom duxelles; wrap in a delicate sheet of puff pastry; brush with a light egg wash and baked at 400 until it is a perfect medium rare. Yes, this dish is labor intensive on the front end. But it can sit in it’s final stage ready for the oven until company arrives. One bite of this and I am right back in the Culver City kitchen!
Gordon’s Beef Wellington (serves 4)
2lbs filet mignon
salt/fresh cracked pepper
4 Tbs dijon mustard
1/2 lb prosciutto di Parma (approx 6 slices, enough to cover the filet)
1 cup mushroom duxelles*
4+ savory herb crepes (enough to cover the filet)**
1 sheet puff pastry rolled 1/4″ thin
1 lb mushrooms (I used 1/2 lb portobello, 1/2 lb oyster because that’s what was available)
1 tbs EVOO
salt/pepper to taste
**Savory Herb Crepes:
1/2 cup all purpose flour (I like King Arthur)
2 large eggs
1/2 tsp kosher salt4 Tbs water
1/2 cup whole milk
1 Tbs thyme, minced (chives are also nice)
4 Tbs butter, melted
Remove puff pastry from the freezer. Allow to soften but make sure it stays chilled.
Pat filet dry with paper towels and season generously with salt and cracked pepper.
Prepare Mushroom Duxelles. Clean and dry mushrooms, coarsely chop and puree in a food processor until completely
smooth. The consistency will be similar to a wet hummus. Place in a hot pan with a Tbs of olive oil, season gently with salt and pepper (mixture will reduce and flavors will concentrate so be conservative) and spread evenly over surface. Mixture should gently bubble and sweat. Continue cooking until mixture is the texture of a spreadable pate. Set aside in small bowl and allow to cool.
Prepare Savory Herb Crepes. Whisk together flour and eggs in a medium mixing bowl. Add 2 Tbs water and whisk until smooth. Add the remaining 2 Tbs and whisk. Add milk, herbs, and salt. Whisk until smooth and let rest for 30 minutes. Add 1 Tbs melted butter, whisk. Reserve the remaining butter for greasing the crepe pan. Heat 8″ pan on medium heat. 1/4 cup batter= 1 thin, beautiful crepe. Rotate pan in a circular motion to cover completely with batter. Edges will begin to curl slightly as crepe cooks. Cook for approx 60 seconds until the bottom is a pale golde
n brown. Remove from heat and repeat.
Preheat oven to 400F
Heat pan on medium high, add grape seed or canola oil. When oil begins to smoke, lay filet down and brown for 1-2 minutes on all sides. Remove from heat, place on a cutting board and allow to cool.
Smother browned filet with dijon mustard and gently wrap with prosciutto.
Square off the edges of the crepes and trim to just cover filet. You want to minimize any overlap. Spread crepes with mushroom duxelles. (The crepes create a barrier so the duxelles does not soak through and steam the puff pastry.) Gently wrap the crepes around the filet so that the mushroom duxelles is layered between the crepe and the prosciutto.
Finally, lay the log on top of a sheet of puff pastry rolled to 1/4″ thin. Again, trim any excess pastry away to minimize overlap along the under seam.
Place on a sheet of parchment paper on a baking sheet, seam side down. Bast with a light egg wash (1 egg yolk, 1 Tbs whole milk, whisked) and bake for approx 25 minutes until temperature reads 125. Allow to rest a minimum of 10 minutes before slicing into 1 1/2″ medallions. Serve immediately with a fantastic bottle of Bordeaux. Cheers!